Teenage Drama Shows Essay

2332 words - 9 pages

Teenagers are a significant segment of the American population. However, teenage drama shows did not make a significant emergence until the 1990’s. Before the 90’s, there were a handful of shows that had adolescents as supporting or main characters but the shows were not geared towards a teen audience. Never Too Young was one of the first so- called “teen drama” shows that premiered in 1965 and aired for a single season. The show had soap opera elements and chronicled the lives of teenagers. Teen dramas as opposed to teen situation comedies have soap opera elements to them. Some teen dramas can be understood in relation to the long-running serial form in their emphasis on repetition and deferral of resolution, and in this respect, are close to soap opera in narrative organization (Moseley 54). A school setting or home residence is where many teen dramas take place. Similar to soap operas, teen dramas also center around place, character, and relationships, and emotional drama is often heightened through the use of close-up and (generally romantic pop) scoring (Moseley 54). Teen drama is geared towards an adolescent audience, therefore episodes address teenage issues: sex, drugs, self -esteem, love, and school violence. The short-lived teen drama, My So Called Life dealt with these issues but due to low ratings was cancelled. My So Called Life was a realistic and dynamic show that should not have been terminated abruptly.
One of the original teen dramas, Degrassi Junior High and later Degrassi High, became very popular in both Canada and the US while airing on PBS in the late 80s and early 90s (Silverblatt 21).Several years after Degrassi's premiere, Darren Star created Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1990, along with famous producer Aaron Spelling (Silverblatt 25). 90210 became an instant success and is the longest running teen drama to air. Shannon Doherty and Luke Perry became two of the shows rising celebrities. Similar shows emerged after 90210’s success. Melrose Place and Party of Five were also popular teen dramas during the 1990’s. Sabrina the Teenage Witch cultivated Melissa Joan Hart in celebrity stardom. The WB emerged in the mid 90’s with a variety of teen dramas. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson’s Creek, and Felicity all acquired cult followings. In the late 90’s and early 200o’s shows like Smallville and Gilmore Girls proved to be additional successes for the WB. By 2001, Degrassi: The Next Generation was the new spinoff of the Degrassi series. Based in Canada, Degrassi was a teen drama that resolved its plots in the same episode but had some ongoing plots. The series attracted a stable television audience in the United States. Viewers were able to get a glimpse of overly dramatized events.
By 2003, The O.C., a fictitious teen drama about wealthy Orange County teenagers premiered on FOX to strong ratings. The show’s success resulted in the MTV “reality” teen drama called Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. Laguna Beach and its...

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